SC overturns PHC decision, sentences man to life for murdering 17-year-old

Published January 31, 2019
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa lashes out against practice of recording false testimonies, says it creates hurdles for courts. — File photo
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa lashes out against practice of recording false testimonies, says it creates hurdles for courts. — File photo

The Supreme Court on Thursday, overturning the Peshawar High Court's earlier acquittal of a murder suspect, handed him a life sentence for the killing of a teenager and ordered his immediate arrest.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa heard a review petition against the PHC's acquittal of Hazrat Ali ─ who had been sentenced for life by a trial court ─ in the murder of a 17-year-old boy.

Justice Khosa, overturning the PHC's decision, observed that "none of the witnesses had spoken the truth in this case."

"None of the witnesses paid any regard to their oath," he regretted, adding: "The purpose of investigation agencies is to present the truth."

The chief justice once again lashed out against the practice of recording false testimonies before courts, saying that it creates hurdles for courts.

"In other countries, people speak the truth and laws are debated but here, hurdles are created for courts," he complained.

"Here [in Pakistan] four people from a village say that an incident took place in broad daylight and four other people from the same village say that the same incident took place at night."

Since assuming the position of top judge, Justice Khosa has rued the practice of recording false testimonies on several occasions. Earlier, while hearing a review petition in a rape case, he pointed out that an innocent person could be "sentenced to death because of [a] false statement". He has also criticised high courts for "ignoring evidence".

Earlier this week, he expressed hope that the "high court [would] do better in this regard in future" in a detailed judgement of the Supreme Court's verdict in the Khadija Siddiqui stabbing case. The top court had overturned a decision passed by the Lahore High Court which acquitted Shah Hussain, the youth accused of stabbing classmate Khadija 23 times.

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